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Aug 13 2005

Don’t Let A Pregnancy Ruin Your Drug Habit

Stagbeetle

Female stag beetle, most impressive at about 2" long. The stag beetle is of course named for the male of the species, which has big, showy “antlers” that the female does not.

Many’s the time the young niece has implored me, as I dandle her on one knee and a margarita on the other (wonder no more why spinster aunts evolved with two knees), to tell the story of what life was like before Feministing. Her eyes grow wide in the flickering light of the short-circuiting lava lamp as I recount the bleak, sunless years eked out in greasy trenches where women had hair the size of Guam and bell bottoms were not ironic, when the icy fires of patriarchy raged unchecked and unblogged, and her unfortunate aunt was forced to pry her keister out of its lime green recliner and do her own patriarchy-blaming research.

Those days are gone, thank the lard, and the clouds have lifted. Now a full complement of reportage on the fucktarded exploits of the dominant culture, collected by a team of excellent young geniuses, is just a click away. Thanks, Feministing!

Today I allude to Jessica’s recent post about the eugenics brigade formerly known as CRACK (I cannot resist a guffaw of superiority over their moron website, which contains such Pythonesque howlers as “A substance exposed infant is born more frequently than once every 90 seconds"). This merry band of racist psychopaths marches into poor black neighborhoods, sniffs out the female crack addicts of child-bearing age, and signs’em up to take 200 bucks in exchange for getting their tubes tied.

They say they are doing it “for the children.” Man, you can get away with murder up in this mug if you say you’re doing it for the children. It’s true that Project Prevention, as the group now calls itself, exhibits a sort of horror of crack babies, but the basis of that horror appears to be in the amount of public money required to keep them alive. No surprises there; the mitigation of child suffering and the preservation of public dough–both achieved through selective breeding, of course–are time-honored tenets of eugenics rhetoric. 

The group appears disinterested in any result that does not fully preclude reproduction among their target class of women of color. That they disdain to facilitate drug treatment or access to health care, don’t give a flip about preventing HIV, turn a blind eye to the possibilities of education, and couldn’t care less about the underlying social conditions that generate crack addiction in the first place, reveals a distinctly hostile and punitive intent.

Fully supporting my theory that all racists are also misogynists, Project Prevention is disinclined to push its drug-money sterilization incentive to men, preferring, like the rest of humanity ever since the Old Testament became a runaway bestseller, to punish women exclusively for society’s unseemly tableaux. The group claim to accept male participants, but clients are referred to on the website only with feminine pronouns, and the only birth control methods they list as worth their $200 are strictly for the ladies: depo-provera shots, IUDs, and the surgical decommissioning of the fallopian tubes. No  vasectomy, nohow.

Naturally the delusional fucktards of Project Prevention deny allegations of blatant racism. “It is racist,” they counter, “or at least ignorant, for someone to learn about our program and assume that only black addicts will be calling us.” Adding defensively, as though they’re really stickin’ it to ya with the scoop of the century, “Not all drug addicts are black.”

Well duh, but the drug addicts Project Prevention is targeting sure are. “Fuck,” quoth Jessica of Feministing, “they used to put up billboards in poor black neighborhoods that said things like, ‘Addicted To Drugs? Want $200?’… I wonder how many billboards went up in rich white areas where women are snorting coke at their kid’s birthday party or popping Xanax like TicTacs.”

Hey Jessica! Quit spyin’ on me!

In addition to flyering and billboarding poor neighborhoods, the group likes to hook up with parole departments and social services, clients of whom a disproportionate percentage are poverty-stricken people of color. These are, you know, government agencies with significant control over their disadvantaged clients’ lives. Says National Advocates For Pregnant Women: “Linking [Project Prevention’s] cash-for-sterilization program to public officials who have the power to decide whether or not someone goes back to jail creates a level of government involvement in reproductive choice that is both immoral and illegal under the US Constitution.”

Alas, the compulsion to promote state-sponsored sterilization of the undesirable poor is nothing new. The American eugenics movement of the early 20th century (which, incidentally, spawned the more infamous program in Nazi Germany) was founded in part on the pseudoscientific “principle” that the impecunious are “genetically unfit.” In fact, the founder of Project Prevention once promoted legislation
in California that would mandate sterilization of women who gave birth
to drug babies.[1]

Should there linger in your keen mind any doubt about this group’s motives, an actual Project Prevention slogan–“Don’t let a pregnancy ruin your drug habit”–should pretty much nip it in the bud.

Kind bud, that is!

38 comments

1 ping

  1. StealthBadger

    The many variants of Social Darwinism never seem to go out of style. Then again, like the Divine Right of Kings, it generally takes a series of bloody revolutions to make ANY notion that the rich and powerful rightly deserve their good fortune go out of style. This one is particularly insidious because, as you point out, the root cause of the suffering the group seeks to “alleviate” is determined to be the evil, wanton, drug-addicted mother. Never mind where the crack came from, or where the money was going. That’s all “old news,” now it’s a self-sustaining business, don’tchaknow.

    *ahem*

    Sorry. My bitterness runneth over tonight.

    But that’s the reason they don’t give the $200 to a treatment center instead of engaging in this thuggery. Because in their black, twisted, ice-cold heart of hearts, each and every one of them believes that these women deserve what’s happening to them, else it wouldn’t be happening.

  2. Mistress

    Call me an asshole, but as much as I’ve read about this organisation, I ultimately don’t think it’s a bad thing. But again, I’m opposed to almost anyone who breeds and especially opposed to those who don’t/can’t take care of their spawn. Did you read the article with the crackwhore who had 17 fucking children? I mean, everyone who’s bitching about this shit– do you really want a crackwhore raising 17 goddamn children? Because this is happening, people!

    As for why they don’t advertise to rich women, it’s because the rich women A. have the money to pay other people to take care of their kids B. probably do or can pay for their own birth control after popping out a trophy kid or two C. don’t need $200

    While it sucks that they don’t talk about drug treatment or access to health care, or any of the other shit Twisty mentioned, those are all much bigger, much more difficult problems. You can’t quickly solve the social conditions generating addiction. But sterilisation is pretty black & white.

  3. Twisty

    “But sterilisation is pretty black & white.”

    Yeah, and the way these psychos go about it, it’s a lot more black than white. And it’s a lot more female than male. And it’s got government sanction.

    These dangerous issues are larger than whether I “want” an impoverished drug addict to have 17 kids.

  4. Crys T

    Y’know, I really don’t like the thought of Christian fundies, Republicans &/or Mormons raising 17 children (or ANY children, even), but it does go on, too.

    “Crack whore” mothers may be pretty freaking scary, but, guess what, so are lots and lots and lots of other abusive, screwed-up, weirdo parents–many of whom happen to white, if not always rich–and I don’t see anyone running round trying to sterilise them, now do I?

    And seriously, exactly how many “crack whore” (gawd) mothers with literally 17 kids are really out there? It’s not like there’s a real, live epidemic, is it, really? No, just once again, the media takes an extreme case and makes it look like something commonplace. Come on.

  5. Mistress

    Ah, the race issue . . . . well, as much as I don’t want to say it, a lot of the people dealing with said addictions & poverty are black. That would be why CRACK’s enrollment looks the way it does. Not to say that white trash doesn’t exist– I mean, trash comes in all colours. But in certain parts of the country, black trash is easier to find than white trash.

    And I already said that I don’t like anyone breeding– I remember a Mormon family with 12 kids where I went to high school. That was fucked & really gross, but at least the kids were all loved, healthy & provided for, if a little unbalanced.

    As for the epidemic of crackwhore moms with 27,841 children? It sucks more than than the well-meaning Mormons because here, the kids’ health [body and mind] is at serious risk.

    The only thing I can wholeheartedly get behind on the THESE PEOPLE SUCK truck is how it’s primarily after women. Because birth control is always a woman’s responsibility, after all. Grr.

    Anyway, I’d like them more if they targeted men, too.

  6. alphabitch

    I confess freely that I don’t have a fucking clue why anybody — any woman, that is to say — would reproduce at all. I mean, it hurts, apparently. And then you have these children who could turn out to be republicans or god knows what-all and there’s nothing you can do about it and apparently you’re still hard-wired to love them & everything. Call me a control freak, but I’m just not into it for myself.

    But I’ll freely admit that my narrow little mind was opened to vast new possibilities a few years back when my (then) neighbor, a mother of like five or six already who was unmarried and flat broke and not quite getting by on paltry welfare checks, glowingly and happily admitted to me that yes, she was pregnant. I expressed some sympathy & concern, thinking maybe she’d be upset or apprehensive or something. Because I sure as hell would have been. But no, she was overjoyed. I was a little confused, as an over-educated white middle class lesbian who at the time did not have children because I felt I lacked the necessary economic stability.

    But it completely blew my mind when she informed me that she felt it was her responsibility, her duty, her mission on the planet as a member of whichever tribe of indigenous people she was a member of, to have as many Indian babies as she reasonably could have, with men from her tribe or another as long as they weren’t white. Because she was fighting back against the genocide, see. And further, she knew exactly how little power she personally had, and the decision to fuck a man — and love him or not — and to have his baby and raise it and love it (not loving a child, hers or any other, was not an option in this woman’s view), was the most powerful thing she could think of to do, in the face of it. She felt like the black women in the neighborhood knew what she meant by this, but she could see where I might not have a fucking clue. Bless her for bothering to try to explain.

    This woman was not a drug addict, nor anything like it, but I am certain that a lot of folks would rather women like her not have more children. Does that give them the right to mandate or coerce or even recommend sterilization?

    NO.

    “Pro-choice” does not mean you have to agree with the reasons people choose what they do. Mandatory childbearing (i.e. no legal abortion) is every bit as harmful as mandatory sterilization. You and I will not agree with every woman’s choice.

    Too fucking bad. It’s hers.

  7. alphabitch

    PS: Nice beetle, Twisty.

  8. ae

    Twisty, holy f*ck. Is that really one of their slogans? Thud.

    Mistress, sadly, I don’t think there’s much room for “yeah, but” here. We just don’t live in a Yeah But world when it comes to reproductive rights. The anti-woman contingent is very clear about its objectives (absolute control over women’s social and sexual lives) and, thankfully, not terribly savvy about disguising their motives. I freeze the moment government sanction and regulation of women’s bodies comes into the picture, because that’s a zero-sum game and nothing short of an Atwoodian nightmare. The example of a crack-addicted woman with 17 kids is less a reason to give an inch about our physical sovereignty than it is a reason to attack with all our might the misogyny and racism that put her there.

    Btw, NC has confronted its eugenics history and has, shockingly, gotten it together enough for a reparations program. The Winston-Salem Journal has done an award-winning series on it, including interviews w/ some of the victims. To echo your point above, Twisty, one especially sad note is that as the civil rights movement gained momentum, the rate of black sterilizations increased. I’m sure that was just a coinkydink.

  9. Andrea

    Do you think anyone’s told them yet that crack babies are a myth?

    *scratching head*

    My great-aunt was sterilized against her will when she was a child. Because she was “too small”. ANd yes, this was in North America. Any program like this chills my blood.

  10. alphabitch

    The Journal series is indeed excellent. It was not long after that got published that the governor issued an apology. The guy behind it, Kevin Begos, it is writing a book. He had access to some truly amazing information & they did some really heart-wrenching interviews. “Feebleminded” seems to have been a really popular diagnosis used to justify sterilization. What it meant, apparently, was “we don’t like how you live.” The whole US eugenics movement is indeed fascinating.

  11. Finn

    I would start by saying that I agree it’s fucked up for the government to give support to ANY organization based on its intentions. That’s the back door sneak being pulled by a whole host of faith-based initiatives, which is really their way of saying God’s CIA. I find them suspect at every turn, for eventually, their good intentions can usually be traced back to some sort of cruddy master plan or other.

    That being said…

    It wouldn’t do any good to sterilize male crack heads. If it would do any good, I’d be in favor of it, but I doubt that they’re the ones impregnating anyone. And, you can’t chase down and sterilize every John that hooks up with a female crackhead prostitute. That would be nigh on impossible.

  12. curiousgirl

    “Ah, the race issue . . . . well, as much as I don’t want to say it, a lot of the people dealing with said addictions & poverty are black. That would be why CRACK’s enrollment looks the way it does…”

    Mistress–I don’t want you to say it either, becuase it isn’t true–its a false, racist stereotype. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Office of Applied Studies adn thier 2001 National Household Survey,6.8% of white folks as a group used illegal drugs in the past month, and 6.9% of black folks as a group used illegal drugs in the past month. (most categories of Latino people and Asian people were significanly below this percentage, while Native Americans and Puerto Ricans were significanly above).

    Its true that black people as a group have a higher percentage of people in poverty than do white people, but I don’t understand how that is relevant to this disucssion.

    “Anyway, I’d like them more if they targeted men, too.”

    Personally, I would like them better if they offered free & low-cost birth control methods to all comers, rather than using coercive payments to generate clients. Cours, then they’d be Planned Parenthood.

    Coercion in the form of cash payments is the fundamental mechanism that makes this program primarily a racist exercise and nothing else; they aren’t targeting black drug addicts becasue they think drug addicts are bad mothers. They are targeting black drug addicts because drug addicts need $200 and are thus vulnerable to this type of coercion and because they believe black people shouldn’t breed.

  13. curiousgirl

    Sorry for the multiple posts. not sure what I did!

  14. Sylvanite

    Sadly, when I worked at the Department of Public Welfare, I could usually tell if a female client had a serious drug problem by the number of kids she had; more kids = worse drug problem, due to the lack of critical thinking while high. HOWEVER, most of the women I saw coming in were in drug rehab programs and were seriously trying to get their lives in order so they could take care of their kids. Usually when I saw their applications, they had had their kids taken away by the Department of Human Services, and they wanted them back badly enough to get their shit together. I certainly wished them well, and hoped that they would be able to get on track, but they certainly had a tough row to hoe. I can’t excuse their behavior, but I don’t think that a cash-incentive to get sterilized would really solve the underlying problems. Indeed, if the woman is under the influence, she won’t make rational (long-term) decisions. That $200 will look awfully good in the short-term…

  15. Sam

    “you can’t chase down and sterilize every John that hooks up with a female crackhead prostitute. That would be nigh on impossible.”

    It wouldn’t seem impossible if helping women were the goal instead of punishing them for being “crackwhores” (that and the term “welfare queen” are sexist, racist coinages). Some places track down the recent sex partners of new HIV+ persons to warn them they may be infected because they care about reducing AIDS. When kids are getting arrested for downloading copyrighted music over the internet while the average age of entry into American prostitution is 14-years-old, it raises the question of who law enforcement work for, the corporate sponsors of the patriarchy or the citizens who most need protecting from it.

    I would not recommend sterilizing anyone because that would be immoral, but I would recommend arresting and prosecuting men who sexually prey on vulnerable drug-addicted women. I’m against CRACK economically coercing drug-addicted minority women into giving up control of their reproductive organs and I’m against men doing it too.

    AE wrote “Atwoodian” and it brought to mind a much forgotten scene that takes place at Jezebel’s, the whorehouse the Commander sneaks Offred to in clothes still soiled by the last Handmaid who was also both his private and public whore. He brags to her that the prostitutes used to be lawyers and doctors and other professional women. Offred reunites with Moira (“I had my choice, they said, this or the colonies”) who takes sexual slavery in the brothel over hard labor and worse in the toxic colonies. Offred shows the rebellious lesbian feminist Moira finally has her independent spirit crushed with such lines as, “She has a black bow tie round her neck and is wearing black high heels. She always hated high heels.”

    Atwood prefaces the loss of women’s basic human rights with the mass commercialization of sex reaching a saturation point of “fast-food” sexuality. People treated as consumable things are not people treated as people.

  16. Finn

    Sam – “Some places track down the recent sex partners of new HIV+ persons to warn them they may be infected because they care about reducing AIDS.”

    Generally speaking, I agree with your points. But, this organization of which we’re speaking doesn’t have as its goal to help women. It has as its goal to reduce the number of children born with drug-related birth defects, right?

    Are we saying that we don’t believe that’s a problem that could be solved through voluntary sterilization?

    Hey, this organization creeps me out as much as it does everyone else, but when problems like drug addiction stretch out beyond the body of the addict, aren’t we bound to try to do something?

  17. curiousgirl

    “It has as its goal to reduce the number of children born with drug-related birth defects, right?”

    Then they are barking up the wrong fucking tree. Turns out crack and cocaine have very limited effects on fetal development overall. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is by far the worst. And white women produce 50% more FAS babies per 10,000 white births than do black women per 10,000 black births.

  18. curiousgirl

    “Hey, this organization creeps me out as much as it does everyone else, but when problems like drug addiction stretch out beyond the body of the addict, aren’t we bound to try to do something?”

    Unfortunately, the steralization of black women has already been tried, and it has solved neither the project’s stated goals (strangely enough, it was to prevent Low-IQ births back then, too) or the other eugenicist-racist-fucktard slighly more sub rosa goals either. So lets try something different now, m-kay?

    See August ’05 Harpers for actual cases from a
    (I believe) Reconstruction-era Southern State-run sterilization clinic specializing in young black women with bad attitudes.

    Fucked. Up.

    And not– apparently– history.

  19. Twisty

    A few people have raised an issue that I would have raised in the post, had I not had my head up my butt: that “crack baby” is a bogus epidemic. It was invented during the Reagan era to drum up support for his perpetual and open-ended war against both women and poor people of color.

    See this for more info.

  20. alphabitch

    CuriousGirl: that Harper’s piece is not reconstruction-era; it’s from fairly recent case files here in NC — AE pointed out the Winston-Salem Journal’s series Against Their Will on this issue. Check it out. Mind-boggling. It’s where I live.

  21. ae

    alphabitch, Kevin Begos got his raw material from one of the historians here at UNC, whose book has already been published. Check it out here. My sense is that Kevin and Johanna come at this story in different ways, historian v. journalist. I’ll be curious to see his book.

    Sam, right the hell on.

    Finn, to take a stab at your question, I think we need to look at the assumptions underlying “choice” and “voluntary.” As you note, this organization is in its very nature coercive and predatory. I find conversations about “choice” problematic for the very reason that “choice,” to state the obvious, is heavily mitigated by circumstance. That is, if 99% of one’s material reality is driven by subsistence and addiction, then it is not terribly meaningful to call that remaining 1% “choice.” A crack-addicted woman can, of course, “volunteer” to be sterilized or receive $200 for her ovaries, but this is hardly the same access to choice that we would have. For these reasons, I am “Pro-Choice” in shorthand only; my real position is that women’s physical integrity — whatever that may mean across the spectrum — is a basic human right.

    And this is where my feminist goal and the goals of this organization diverge on the question of what we are bound to do: I would want to care for the health and well-being of this woman as a human being beyond her capacity to take drugs and deliver babies; they want nothing else to do w/ her as soon as her role of babymaker (but the wrong kind, see) can be stopped.

    And maybe I’ll just say it again, but this “crackwhore” f*cktardery is more racist tripe from the bigots that brought us the “welfare queen.”

  22. curiousgirl

    Thanks, Alpha, for the assist.

    CG

  23. Mistress

    “Its [sic] true that black people as a group have a higher percentage of people in poverty than do white people, but I don’t understand how that is relevant to this disucssion [sic].”

    It’s actually EXTREMELY relevant. Because not only is crack not the rich people drug of choice, a rich drug addict wouldn’t need $200! Goddamn. And again, rich people can either take care of their kids or hire someone else to. It’s only the poverty stricken who could benefit from the program.

    And unless I misread their tactics, this isn’t coercion. They put up billboards. They offer $200. As far as I know, they don’t chase bitchez down & threaten them. There’s incentive, yes, but I don’t see it as coercion. It’s ultimately the woman who decides whether or not to take part in the program. And it’s not only sterilisation– they’ll also pay you to take long term birth control. So if you ever get your act together and want to make babies, that option is there.

    There’s a letter on the website from a woman on the program– you should read it.

  24. curiousgirl

    “It’s actually EXTREMELY relevant. Because not only is crack not the rich people drug of choice, a rich drug addict wouldn’t need $200! Goddamn. And again, rich people can either take care of their kids or hire someone else to. It’s only the poverty stricken who could benefit from the program.”

    Just some points in response:

    1. Crack=stupid target drug if your aim is to prevent “damaged” infants from being born. Crack babies don’t exist. Perfect target if you want to drum up sicko racist fears, and sterilize black people for being black.

    2. There are more poor white people than poor black people, numerically. The (aprox)same percentage use drugs. More whites use drugs that actually cause damage to fetuses. Why advertise for free sterilization in mainly in black neighbor hoods?

    3. Rich druggies take care of their kids? I don’t think so. There is more to parenting than a fat checkbook, and lots of rich, middle and poor people fail miserably at it. Also rich people’s fucked up children suck up a lot more of the worlds resources, so if we started sterilizng them, we’d get a lot more bang for our buck. Obviously, the $200 thing wouldn’t work, so we’d just have to find something to offer in exchange that they desperately need and can’t get for themselves….

    4…my point being that $200 is coercive when you are talking about someone who is a poor drug addict. Clearly you don’t agree with that principle, but I think the reasons why have been well articulated up-thread.

    5. Huge numbers of people in this country don’t have health care. I, personally, could benefit from a program that offered free birth control, as could many poor, middle-class, working-class and young people. The design of this fucked up program is the reason that only poor people can benefit. That is why they designed it that way. They think poor people are poor as the result of their inherent deficiencies, and therefore should not pass on their blighted DNA and parenting skills to the next generation.

    6. Apologies for my typos, I get excited and I type fast.

  25. Sam

    Both sterilization and long term birth control may seem on the surface like harm reduction ideas but they leave women in the same unhealthy drug addicted. prostituted circumstances and that’s unacceptable to me.

    Almost all prostituted women are drug abusers and if they are not treated more than superficially their health worsens because after sterilization/hormonal bc they no longer take the same precautions they used to, like using condoms. Men offer to pay more for sex without condoms and sterilization/hormonal bc makes drug-addicted prostitutes more willing to take those health risks for the money they desperately need.

    News about how women don’t have to get their periods from certain hormonal birth control is old hat to pimps who for years have been pumping prostituted girls and women full of hormones to stop their menstruation. That’s 3-5 days out of “work” every month they would be losing otherwise and the cost of the injections is nothing compared to what a female body can be profit a brothel in that time. I read of a place in Thailand where hormone needle sharing in the brothels was implicated in causing a 95% AIDS rate due to needle transmission combined with lowered condom use.

  26. Finn

    AE sez:

    >And this is where my feminist goal and the goals of this organization diverge on the question of what we are bound to do: I would want to care for the health and well-being of this woman as a human being beyond her capacity to take drugs and deliver babies; they want nothing else to do w/ her as soon as her role of babymaker (but the wrong kind, see) can be stopped.<

    I sez:

    I get your point. And, maybe I’m picking logical nits to ask if it’s necessary for every organization to have goals that match our own ideology completely before we agree that they are at least doing some good? I’m not suggesting that the ends justify the means, but considering how much disdain was spouted toward breeders in this blog forum, I suppose I’m a bit surprised there wasn’t more generalized support for sterilization across the board. If it’s a simple case of “let the guys do it instead,” I could more easily grasp the concept.

  27. Finn

    I meant to add:

    I suppose I know too much about this subject to be objective.

    I have an in-law who is about 40, female, white, and gets addicted to whatever you got. She’s now in a situation where she is loosely enslaved by a dealer/pimp/whatever (hey, these guys can’t be bothered with titles; it’s a multitasking world). She has a daughter starting her teen years that was born, thankfully, before she got into heavier drugs.

    If she had another kid, at this point in time, in her current condition, I would feel MUCH, MUCH more sympathy, empathy, or whatever for the kid than I would for her. Maybe that’s me being male, but I think my wife would agree.

  28. Twisty

    First, you guys are making excellent points. Thanks. Except for Mistress. You’re wrong.

    Next, Mr. Finn. Kids shouldn’t have to grow up with drug addict parents. But is the solution to this problem “sterilize poor black women”? Are you really so OK with punishing females exclusively for the seamy, druggy consequences of applied patriarchy?

    Meanwhile,even if your in-law wanted to trade her ovaries for drug money, she’s not part of the demographic selected for this super-racist program.

  29. alphabitch

    AE – your link doesn’t work; I get a ‘database not open’ message. I’ll look it up later though — thanks. I’m very interested in the subject.

  30. Mistress

    I’m not wrong. I’m just an asshole. And without my assholian contributions, you wouldn’t be able to make your points!

    You phucken &hearts me and you know it.

  31. BritGirlSF

    “I get your point. And, maybe I’m picking logical nits to ask if it’s necessary for every organization to have goals that match our own ideology completely before we agree that they are at least doing some good? I’m not suggesting that the ends justify the means, but considering how much disdain was spouted toward breeders in this blog forum, I suppose I’m a bit surprised there wasn’t more generalized support for sterilization across the board. If it’s a simple case of “let the guys do it instead,” I could more easily grasp the concept.”

    As one who is anti-breeding in a general sense, or at least anti-myself-breeding, I’ll take a stab at this. The problem I see here is that someone took a look at a crappy situation (drug-addicted women, many in prostitution, having babies) and thought – hmm, these women should not be having babies. They do not appear to have the slightest concern for the women involved, including any concern for the fact that some of these women may actually WANT to have children at some point. They are acting from a perspective of being disgusted by the idea of people they deem worthless reproducing (which is the root of all eugenics programs). That’s a pretty fucked up worldview. It seems to me that a more enlightened and compassionate approach would be to focus on helping the women to get off drugs. If that were accomplished then the other associated problems would be on their way to being solved, but the CRACK people would be deprived of the opportunity to lord it over those less fortunate than themselves, and clearly for them that will not do.

  32. piny

    >>Next, Mr. Finn. Kids shouldn’t have to grow up with drug addict parents. But is the solution to this problem “sterilize poor black women”? Are you really so OK with punishing females exclusively for the seamy, druggy consequences of applied patriarchy?>>

    Especially since the solution involves exploiting and feeding the drug addiction–not to mention the impaired judgment caused by drug addiction–in order to get these women sterilized. Why is that two-hundred-dollar cash fertility rebate so attractive, do you think?

    There’s also the danger inherent in telling these women that there’s so little chance they’ll ever clean up and make capable mothers that they might as well render themselves sterile. That is an inexcusable message to send.

  33. Mistress

    You’re right. It’s a horrible message to send. But addiction is an extremely powerful thing that people don’t really understand unless they’ve been there– and sometimes not even then. You don’t give a fuck about anything but feeding the goddamn addiction. It’s central to your existence. And a lot of people in those situations aren’t ready to change that. Kicking an addiction is a LOT harder than just being on long term birth control until you ARE ready.

  34. Galloise Blonde

    If these guys weren’t racists, they’d change their name to METH and go advertise in Iowa. http://www.drug-rehabs.com/rise-meth-babies.htm

  35. curiousgirl

    Galloise Blonde,

    Good point. Of course then they’d still be classist, eugenicist morons barking up the wrong tree. Apparently, meth doesn’t seem to cause much fetal harm either, but the media is mixing up a new “crack baby” story anyway.

    http://www.cjr.org/issues/2004/5/voices-blake.asp

  36. Finn

    >Next, Mr. Finn. Kids shouldn’t have to grow up with drug addict parents. But is the solution to this problem “sterilize poor black women”? Are you really so OK with punishing females exclusively for the seamy, druggy consequences of applied patriarchy?<

    No, I wouldn’t want to go that far. It was a confusing day, yesterday. As I mentioned, a little too close to home, I’m afraid.

    I’ll try to weigh in on it sometime when the dust clears.

  37. piny

    >>Kicking an addiction is a LOT harder than just being on long term birth control until you ARE ready.>>

    A tubal ligation is not long-term birth control. It can sometimes be reversed through further expensive surgery, but there’s no guarantee you’ll ever be able to get pregnant again even if you can come up with the money. It’s usually permanent. It’s sterilization.

    I know that they offer IUDs and depo-provera, too, but they don’t limit their services to reversible options.

    And the obsessive focus on the drug that you were talking about is exactly my point: this organization is exploiting that obsession. That money is drug money, offered to women who accept it in exchange for their ability to bear children precisely because they are addicted.

  38. ae

    Wow. This thread is en fuego! Sorry, I’m late coming back to the party.

    alphabitch, sorry for the broken link. The book is Choice and Coercion, by Johanna Schoen, published by UNC Press. Crazy-making stuff, for sure.

    Sam, again, right the hell on.

    Finn, sorry for your troubles re: your sister-in-law. And your emotional exhaustion is understandable. It is very difficult to look at a drug-addicted person, and knowing how difficult it is to kick addiction, still not understand why they can’t make just one good choice. I’ve seen this, too, though not w/ a family member. Sadly, the addicted person is a victim, too, so no matter how loudly we say it or how much we wish it otherwise, that person is going to make terrible decisions, because they’re not really in control of their lives. Sometimes people simply cannot do the right or safe or smart thing. Asking a person in that circumstance to make a complicated, life-long decision is not a sound decision on our part. When one person cannot take responsibility, it is incumbent upon the rest of us to do what we can for them. This is why I am not and cannot be a Republican.

    No one wishes for more children born to drug-addicted people, but forced sterilization AND forced pregnancy are NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, the answer. This is a zero-sum game. There are terrible parents all over the place. Frankly, I’d hate to be Phyll*s F*cking Schl*fly’s kid. Brrrr.

  1. Beanie Baby

    News Flash: Crack Babies a Cruel Media Hoax

    And yet somehow, a group of people has not only missed this, but has decided to direct its anti-crack-baby passions toward forming a group intended to eradicate this non-existent plague. Their ploy? Paying poor female drug users $200 to be…

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